The next two men on the NFL Network’s “Top 100” are not the first great defensive duo I’ve written about, but they are good.
Number 44 on the NFL’s list is Mel Blount. Blount was a renowned defensive back during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ great 1970s age. Blount surprisingly wasn’t picked until the third round and then he was number 53. Perhaps part of the reason was that he played at Southern University, not exactly the football capital of the world.
Mel Blount had a long career, playing for 14 seasons and, during those seasons, he played 200 games.
I remember watching Blount play. He was a vicious hitter and was one of the reasons the Steelers’ defense was so successful. He played behind the defensive line known as the “Steel Curtain.”
Blount was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1975.
Blount still has the Steelers’ stellar interception record with 57. These interceptions were returned 736 yards, and, further, Blount recovered 13 opponents’ fumbles.
Mel Blount was chosen 65th on the fan ranking and was entered into the Hall of Fame in 1989.
Midway through Blount’s career, the league entered the “Mel Blount Rule,” which says a defensive back can’t touch a receiver after five yards. As I watch Blount tackle and harass, I don’t see a clean tackler but a person who turns guys upside down to try to injure them.
Number 43 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100” is Alan Page. Page was drafted out of Notre Dame in 1967 in the first round and the 15th overall pick. Page was unique in that football really wasn’t that important to him in the big scheme of things, although he played as well as anyone.
Page played as defensive tackle as part of the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive line known as the “Purple People Eaters.” Page played for 15 seasons and during those years played in 218 games.
While a Hall of Famer, inducted in 1988, Page is just as well known for being a judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Alan Page was chosen as number 91 by the fans, which I think is a little off. Number 43 is closer to how he played.
NFL Network Website, “Mel Blount DB”
Hall of Fame Website, “Mel Blount”
You Tube Website, “NFL Top 100 Players #44-Mel Blount”
NFL Network Website, “Alan Page DT”
Hall of Fame Website, “Alan Page”
You Tube Website, “NFL Top 100 Players #43-Alan Page